Today, specialized and fast moving construction does not allow the architect, engineer, contractor, or client, as individuals, time to personally follow all the steps of a construction project and its related auditing. Therefore, a skilled and knowledgeable person has evolved to fill this necessary position, the "Professional Construction Inspector".
The construction inspector is a member of a professional team helping to insure safety of life, property, and the client's right to full measure for their investment. The integrity of an inspector is as important as the skills, knowledge, experience, and judgment which they employ to insure the component parts of the project are constructed in conformance with the contract documents. This type of inspector formed and belongs to the American Construction Inspectors Association, whose main purpose for existing as an organization is to advance, protect, and improve the practice of inspection in the construction industry. To carry this out, we have allied ourselves with other professional inspection groups and maintain liaison with architects, engineers, government agencies, contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, and trade unions.
Our Association was incorporated in 1959 to promote educational opportunities, share information about construction and inspection, and to promote standards of knowledge and conduct for all construction inspectors regardless of their area of expertise or employment. To promote these goals, the Association has established various committees and programs.
The ACIA's Board of Registered Construction Inspectors was created as a semi autonomous entity of the Association in 1984 to establish a program to set minimum standards for general engineering inspectors, general building inspectors, public works inspectors, and for different categories of specialty inspectors. The RCI Board receives and processes applications for registration, conducts examinations and registers construction inspectors who successfully meet all the requirements provided for in the Rules and Regulations of the RCI Board. Registrations may be renewed by payment of a $50.00 renewal fee and verification of the registrants having completed a minimum of twenty-four units of continuing education.
The ACIA's Education Committee develops and conducts educational seminars throughout the year on a wide variety of topics of interest. Recent seminars produced ranged from Concrete, Reinforcing Steel, Seismic Bracing, Plumbing, Grading and Paving, Wood Framing; to Toxic Waste and Fire Protection along with others. This committee provides continuing education programs to help our Registered Construction Inspectors meet the RCI Board's requirements for renewal of their registrations.
The primary vehicle for sharing information on an Association wide basis is our magazine, The Inspector. The Inspector is published quarterly. It contains articles on construction materials, practices and techniques as well as tips on good inspection. The magazine also contains information on the activities of the local chapters of the Association including meetings dates and chapter programs. The Education Committee lists their annual schedule of educational seminars in the magazine.
The local chapters form the foundation of Association activities for most members. At the chapter meetings, members share information and network, socialize and conduct chapter business in between a program presentation by qualified experts from the construction industry.
- Advance and improve the profession of detailed construction inspection.
- Assist the allied profession in the public interest for quality construction.
- Encourage education of its members and the public with prescribed standards.
- Maintain the honor and integrity of the profession, and encourage ethical practices.
- Enlighten the public regarding the value of efficient construction inspectors.
- Strive for better legislation affecting construction inspectors.
- Cooperate with government agencies having similar purpose and objectives.
- Assure the public of the ability and integrity of its membership by establishing and maintaining prescribed standards of qualifications.
- Advance the science and art of construction inspection for the safety, health, and living standards of the public.
- Assure the basic expertise of our membership based on the general principles herein set forth.
What is an Inspector?
According to Webster's Dictionary, inspect is to view closely in critical appraisal: look over: to examine officially.
Reason dictates, an inspector must...
- determine what to examine.
- be able to determine where and when to examine.
- be able to determine whether the item examined is correct.
- be able to determine the proper action to take.
- accomplish all of these honestly and fairly.
In construction, the requirements for inspection are numerous and varied for the component parts, which require different kinds of testing functions and verification. Construction is a progressive inspection of the parts comprising their assembly.
Judgement is required because of various tolerances in application of such terms as "straight", "plumb", and "level". Each of these must be judged for exactness, dependent upon use, material, and practicality.
It is necessary that the inspector display the utmost tact in public relations with office and field personnel, which is vital to a successful completion of a quality project.
Integrity is essential because all members of the construction enterprise are dependent upon the Inspector's observations and the timeliness and accuracy of his findings
What does an Inspector Do?
Competent inspection requires basic duties of inspectors regardless of the extent of their responsibilities. Predicting an outline on the premise that "proper inspection results in the opportunity for all work to be done correctly the first time", it follows that:
Inspectors must determine the exact identity of the project and all of its parts. This includes all plans, specifications, contract documents, and all references to law, codes, manufacturer's specifications, and other referrals.
Inspectors must determine and establish procedures and arrangements to fulfill their duties without unnecessarily interfering with the work. They must assist the contractor in obtaining all clarifications, interpretations, and corrections required, prior to installation. They must check all installations for performance and completeness.
Good public relations maintained by the inspector are essential to every member of the complex interests in the building project. These are established through competence, judgement, timeliness, understanding, industry, and integrity.
It is also essential to record and document the project in the whole and in its parts in sufficient detail to enable an "historical reconstruction" of the events and progress of the project.
What Should an Inspector Know?
An Inspector should know...
- How little he knows compared to what is available.
- How to read and be able to comprehend what was read.
- The author's meaning and intent.
- How to recognize, analyze, and specifically identify problems.
- When, where, and how to secure the solutions to any problem.
- An inspector should be able to see what is before him and to visualize its effect on preceding and succeeding work.
- How to understand and correlate cause and effect.
- Applied mathematics, arithmetic, geometry, physics, chemistry, and statistics, as related to everyday field conditions and operations.
- Drafting to the extent of transmitting ideas with sketches, diagrams, isometrics, or graphs.
- To keep the purpose of the design in mind and to exercise judgement in the use of his authority.
- How to get along with people while asserting himself to obtain quality work.
What Help Can the Association Give?
- Can centralize and coordinate the efforts of its members and other agencies desiring improved construction inspection.
- Can secure the cooperation of other organizations desiring increased quality of inspection.
- Offers educational opportunities through its Education Committee at both the Chapter and Association levels.
- Can, with cooperation, determine what constitutes qualified inspectors and help establish standards.
- Can furnish the means for each inspector to determine just what they need to increase their qualifications to meet the desired standards.
- Provides access to quality health, dental, and term life insurance available at competitive group rates.
- Can secure, through regularly established procedures, the opportunity for inspectors to receive the help they need.
- Can secure recognition and promote improved qualifications once such improvements are made.
- Can protect the interests of inspectors and represent them in securing desirable legislation.
- The Association assists individuals in a sometimes lonely occupation.